Friday, March 02, 2007

"I think [the TTC] is a burden on taxpayers, and it's not necessary."

Toll Road To Open As Protests Continue

March 2, 2007

KXAN NBC (Austin)
Copyright 2007

The drive in Northwest Austin is about to improve, because another toll road will open up tomorrow.

Highway 183-A is 11.6 miles, and it will connect Leander and Cedar Park.

Not all of the work is complete, however. The main toll plaza near Park Street still is under construction. The rest of the project should be finished within 120 days.

Officials said drivers have to wait until Saturday afternoon to try out the road.

"We expect to start opening the road in phases around 3 p.m.," said Steve Pustelnyk, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority communication director. "It will take several hours, safe a planned manner."

When it comes to using 183-A, drivers have two months free and then an additional month with 50 percent off for TxTag holders.

To celebrate the opening, there will be a 5K race on Saturday morning followed by a community festival with live music and free barbeque on the toll road near the Park Street exit.

But not everyone was celebrating this toll extension.

People were still speaking out at the Texas Capitol Friday afternoon, saying Texas does not need the Trans-Texas Corridor.

The rally started with several anti-toll groups, families and individuals from around the state marching from Cesar Chavez up Congress Avenue to the Capitol.

Protestors said they don't want roads to be put in the hands of private companies, and they don't want a tolled highway that will run through an estimated million acres of farmland.

"I think it's a burden on taxpayers, and it's not necessary," said protestor Louise Whiteford. "It is just large corporations bringing goods from China!"

The Texas Department of Transportation has said in the past that if it stops the toll roads, it will have to rely on taxes to build highways, which will take years longer.

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